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Earn blessings every time you worship

Behold, the new and improved True Believer Rewards programme.

Every time you spend £1 at the church of true barbecue, you earn 1 faith point.

If you have

You can now accumulate faith points every time you visit, not just at lunch. By spending £1 at the church of true barbecue, you earn 1 faith point. Faith points can then be redeemed for meaty blessings on your next pilgrimage to Red’s.

You can now earn meaty blessings by eating from:

  • The Good Book
  • The Takeout menu*
  • Brunch menu at weekends

Not only that, we’ll also be hosting a special dish each and every month, exclusively for True Believer Rewards cardholders. When signed up, keep checking your emails for more information.

And you’ll still get a birthday treat on Red! Full details of the True Believer Rewards programme and all the blessings available can be found here.

Time to start earning MEAT.

1 faith = 1 point.

*Does not include Deliveroo orders in Leeds/Headingley.

Let There Be Meat – out now!

Believers, your summer barbecue companion has now arrived. Our first recipe book, Let There Be Meat, has now been released!

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Inspired by our annual Pilgrimage round the U.S, Let There Be Meat shows you how to get the most out of your meat. The must-have companion for anyone interested in the art of barbecue and smokehouse, its packed with 120 authentic recipes to help you celebrate the art of true barbecue and discover the satisfaction and deliciousness of low and slow cooking.

It’s not even just restricted to meat. We’ve got matching cocktails, sides, sweet stuff and how to make your own pig roaster and home brew IPA. Alleluia!

You can pick up a copy in any of our restaurants or over on Amazon. And don’t forget to peel back the sticker on the front of your book, a surprise awaits…

Red’s delivered!

Your prayers have been answered. Red’s now delivers in Leeds and Headingley!

We’ve teamed up with  Deliveroo to bring the authentic taste of barbecue to your front doorstep for the very first time (free smells included). To praise the launch of our new delivery service, we enlisted the help of the Aire Valley Harley Davidson Owners Group to surprise the first order with something slightly unique…

Safe to say she was impressed!

Just pop your post code into Deliveroo to check whether we can deliver to you. As we want to make sure your food arrives in the premium quality you expect from Red’s, we deliver to a 2.2km radius of either of our Leeds-based restaurants.

You can also check the map below to see whether the gospel spreads to your home.

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Manchester and Nottingham, more details to come…

Amen to takeaway!

The Good Book at The Old Blue Last

The #RedsPopUp at the Old Blue Last is now less than a week away. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from June 11 to July 4, we’ll be serving true barbecue to the masses upstairs in The Flat.

To mentally prepare yourself for the MEAT to come, feast your eyes on the Good Book below.

The Good Book @ The Flat



And just in case you need some more motivation…this awaits.

Amen to true barbecue.

Sandwiches - The Pitmaster S'Wich

Bless your meat this summer

You asked. Red delivered. From 4th July, 5 sauces and 4 rubs will be available in ASDA stores nationwide.

These are no cheap imitations. All the tastes and flavours are inspired by our annual pilgrimage round the U.S. This means we can bring you the real, authentic taste of American BBQ joints, straight to your table.

Feast your eyes on the full selection below and start preparing for summer.

The Sauces


Kansas City BBQ Sauce 

This sweet, smoky, BBQ bliss is a traditional tomato-based Kansas City recipe, with sweet molasses, and a few spices to add a mild kick.

Mop it. Slop it. Love it. Slather it over your pork ribs, add it to your cooking, or use as a dipper with just about anything.

South Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

This is pure ‘Carolina Gold’, an authentic mustard-based recipe from South Carolina. It blends sweetness with vinegar and mustard to create a tangy BBQ sauce perfect for pulled pork and beef.

Unholy BBQ Sauce

There is one secret recipe to rule them all, and it’s Unholy. Baptise your meat with this Mid Western-style sweet, rich, tomato-based sauce with added flavours of orange and fennel. Mix it with your mince or use it as base to your cooking. 

Devil Wing BBQ Sauce

Conjured by Lucifer himself, get ready to add a devilish twist and a kick to your chicken, turkey or burger mince. It’s sweet, smoky and hot, hot, hot. 

Judas Ketchup

Whilst not true barbecue, Judas Ketchup will have you betraying your taste buds in favour of this smoky tomato sauce with a little kick. Dollop it on your fries, burgers, meats or…quite frankly anything that deserves saving.

The Rubs


Pulled Pork Barbecue Rub 

Taking inspiration from the Carolinas, this rub will help you unlock your inner Pitmaster. The genuine blend of spices, garlic and onion will transform your slow cooked pork shoulder into a dish worthy of worship.

Pork Rib Barbecue Rub

Inspired by the BBQ pits of Memphis, Tennessee, this rub will turn out full flavoured racks every time, whether you love meaty baby backs or tender spare ribs.

Chicken Barbecue Rub 

It’s time to bless your chicken, and transform it from a poultry dish to a heavenly offering. Red’s signature blend of spices, herbs, onion and garlic will infuse your chicken with BBQ goodness.

Beef Barbecue Rub 

Start on your path to salvation and send your steaks to heaven. Simply sprinkle over the meat before you hot fry or grill and allow the blend of spices, pepper and herbs to bless your plate.

Red’s Pop Up: Old Blue Last

As we announced earlier this month, London believers will now be getting their very own place of worship – we open the gates to Shoreditch in July.

If you can’t wait that long and yearn for your meat fix sooner, then don’t fear – Red is here to help.


Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening from June 11 – July 4, let the Old Blue Last become your temporary place of worship. We’ll be hosting a residency in The Flat upstairs, bringing smoked meat and free smells to Hackney ahead of schedule.

The pub is on 38 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3ES – just spitting distance from where we’ll be pitching up in July.

Full menu to be revealed soon. Clue: it’ll contain MEAT.

True barbecue comes to Shoreditch this summer

It’s official. We’re coming to London.


In July, Shoreditch will be blessed with our next smokehouse on 52-54 Great Eastern Street.

If you’ve worshiped at Red’s before, all your hallowed favourites will be there. From the Donut Burger and the Sleepy James, to our USDA Prime brisket. If you’ve never been, take a virtual flick through the Good Book – July is but a few sleeps away.

More details to follow, so keep updated by following us on Facebook.

Amen to bringing true barbecue to the South.

Day #11 Red’s Pilgrimage Washington D.C

At Red’s we serve more than 70,000 people across the business each month. By those odds, you’re going to meet some cool, interesting people stood outside, whilst catching a smoke. Cue Bryan Crosswhite. Bryan is a Louisiana-born, ex-government official who now runs a string of Cajun restaurants, The Cajun Experience.

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If you’ve never had Cajun food then blend a fusion of French thinking, american loving and the Gulf of Mexico, and you’ve got it. Dishes like Crawfish Boil, Étouffée, fried Catfish, Gator Bites, and Seafood Gumbo intoxicate your mind and palate. And here, it’s all next level.

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On the steps of Red’s Manchester we promised Bryan the next time we were over we’d hook up and check out his place. We took an internal flight from Austin to Washington D.C especially. And sweet mother of meat, are we glad we did. Like his food, Bryan is a wonderfully intoxicating person to be around. Laid back, incredibly sharp and intelligent, full of heart, a complete foodie nut, and full to the brim with engaging stories; this was the perfect antidote to barbecue, bourbon and relentless schedules.

Crawfish Boil

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Craw Mac & Cheese

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Crawfish Pies 

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Cajun Bloody Mary

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One brewer, many choices

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Banana Pudding

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If you’re ever in Virginia, or Washington D.C. please take the time to visit The Cajun Experience, and take a step into the world of authentic, Louisiana-inspired food: it’s a promise from the Red’s team you won’t regret it.

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Day #10 Red’s Pilgrimage Austin

The last time we were here, the Red’s team were on a very personal mission to visit the lauded Mecca of American barbecue; Franklin’s. Queue jump a year forward, and with slightly more knowledge under our BBQ belts, this visit was a chance to wind down from the intensity of the Pilgrimage and not have to face 4 hours of waiting to fill our bellies.

Before arriving in Texas’s capital, we did have to deal with the misfortune of Scott’s driving skills, which landed our multi-tonne RV in a roadside quagmire in the middle of duelling banjo’s territory, only to luckily be pulled free by a man who happened to have a fully speced up, but hugely out of date, tow truck in his back yard. $60 in $1 bills later (it looked fatter that way), and we were on the road again.

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Black’s is a famous name in BBQ if you live around these parts. No family in Texas has owned and continuously operated a barbecue business longer – it’s now in its 4th generation.  We’ve already feasted at their Lockhart joint, but they also have one in San Marcos and another here in Austin Gaudalupe, so time to kick back.
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We SSS and jumped in the taxi from the RV park. The Texan sun was burning by this point, a prophetic and welcome reprieve from what it had been. It’s always great at this point in the Pilgrimage; everyone is relaxed, contemplative, talkative, and totally up for reliving the past 10 days antics. So, when the taxi driver dropped us off, we completely missed the fact we hadn’t been dropped at Black’s Austin, but Terry Black’s Austin, a family offshoot, run by his twin sons, Michael and Mark. Well, if it was anything like the Mueller’s family dynasty where everything and anything that family touch turns to BBQ gold, we had to give it go.
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And we weren’t disappointed. Day #10 was rounded off with mesquite and oak-smoked Brisket and spare ribs, plus a load of great sides. What happened on Rainy Street later will stay off the page – but if you see us, do ask and we’ll be more than happy to share.

Day #8 & #9 Red’s Pilgrimage Dayton and Houston

Whilst not eating is cheating on Pilgrimage we managed to sneak a few hours in amongst the busy schedule to truly immerse ourselves in the Texan way of life.  Think guns. Horses. Girls on horses. Girls on horses firing guns.

Dayton Gun Club & Range
For the price of a pint you can hire a fully automatic weapon and fill your boots. Add another $5 and you can purchase a pot of Tannerite, an explosive that detonates only when shot with a high velocity bullet. It explodes with such force that you can feel the shock wave on your chest from a good 25 metres away.
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For a good few hours we got trigger happy with AKs, MKs, semi automatic hand guns, shot guns, you name it, all under the watchful eye of Bob, an 83-year-old US navy war veteran, who wore a .350 Magnum stuffed down the front of his pants, like a total boss.
Houston Rodeo
For 3-weeks in March the huge NRG stadium, home to the Houston Texans American Football team, transforms into the incredible Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. To get a sense of how popular Rodeo is here in the Lone Star state, during the whole event more than 2.4m Stetson-wearing locals turn up to swill beer, buy steers worth up to $300,000 and watch cowboys try to stay attached to a bucking bronco to earn a $50,000 pay check. This was the finale day, and as we made our way from the car park in the pi£$ing down rain, all we could see was a tidal wave of denim and rhinestones pouring into the stadium…
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We were there to hook up with ‘Outlaw Annie’ to give us the inside score into cowboy mounted shooting, a sport that she is crowned world champion.
This Rodeo discipline involves a rider attempt to shoot a series of 10 balloons whilst galloping around a route faster than AP McCoy, change guns halfway, and career over the finish in under 15 seconds.
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Whilst originally bullets were used, modern times have required a more spectator-friendly approach so black gunpowder is used in its place, giving the sharp shooter a range of around 20’. The whole spectacle is served up with a gargantuan dollop of true yankee pomp to whip up the crowd into a whooping and hollering frenzy.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching her new recruits before heading out to the huge outdoor food tent area where you could eat everything from mesquite-smoked giant bacon-wrapped turkey legs to authentic Cajun dishes.

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Today was a Texan good. Guns. Girls on horses firing guns. And bacon. Because everything tastes better with bacon.

Day #7 Red’s Pilgrimage Pecan Lodge

“I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could”.

This well-known local car bumper sticker was made for Dallas. It’s been a year since we were here in this fantastic city, catching up with BBQ friends Justin and Diane Fourton from Pecan Lodge.

Last time their tiny little operation in Dallas Farmer’s Market was punching above its weight turning out incredible barbecue, and making Texas Monthly headlines. Now, one year on they’ve put down roots and invested in their very own 240-cover restaurant. It’s sited in Deep Ellum, a cool, creative area of Dallas punctuated with live music bars, bric-a-brac shops and tattoo studios.

This couple is super-laid back and unassuming, but don’t let that cloud any preconceptions you may have about their desire to succeed. The former Accenture corporate consultants claim part of their success is down to their previous roles, helping them bring discipline and an exacting, scientific approach to the art of barbecue.


Justin towers at well over 6’6”, and is built like a second row rugby player. His wife Diane is one of those women who makes you feel so at ease that you can end up losing a few hours just shooting the breeze with her.

We shared stories over a pint of their new house beer – Boss Lady – a collaboration between them and local brewery, Four Corners, whom we met last visit. The past 12-months have been a baptism of fire, as they’ve grappled with the demands of serving 3,000 people a day at weekends, and regularly selling out by 3pm.

Thankfully despite the move further into town, they’ve managed to maintain their use of steel barrel smokers with offset fireboxes, all housed in a covered area at the back, overlooking the outdoor seating area.  We popped back to check out the guys just starting their overnight shift, tending the brisket and pork butts.

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As we moved outside you could smell Justine’s choice blend of oak and mesquite, floating down the road like a lasso ready to snare any unwitting passers by. Before we left we spent a brief moment in the kitchen quizzing one of his kitchen staff, Red, about Pecan Lodge’s housemade sausages and managed to mine some good nuggets to bring back home.

True to the generosity of this fantastic couple, their parting gifts were two huge full bags, brimming with a whole brisket, two giant beef ribs, an entire spare rib slab, half a butt of pulled pork and a tray of Diane’s famous Mac and Cheese. Amen to Pecan Lodge.



Day #6 Red’s Pilgrimage Joplin & Oklahoma City

Time to chew up a few more hundred miles and cross into a new state; Oklahoma. We’re on route to Oklahoma City to visit Back Door BBQ, but not before a quick ‘cue stop in Joplin to meet with Amy and her team at Woody’s Smokehouse.

If anyone followed the Pilgrimage last year you might remember our brief visit to Rudy’s in Texas, a huge multi-site smokehouse operation.


Intentional or not, but Woody’s looks very similar – which came first, who knows. This independent, roadside ‘cue joint is owned and run by serial restaurateur Amy Vogt. Whilst without its own dedicated style Oklahoma’s BBQ blends the pork traditions of Southeastern US and the beef tradition of Texas, as well smoked Turkey.


We sneaked behind the scenes with Amy. Outback two huge J&R smokers dominate the kitchen. The Pitmaster here is a young guy, Jake, who has worked his way up in the business over the last 10 years.

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We swapped a few recipes and ideas for rubs, before getting stuck in to some excellent food. Perhaps the standout, and something we’re giving consideration to trying out at Red’s, is smoked turkey and pork loin – deep smoky flavour and insanely moist. The sides were equally strong with a ‘potato soup’ dish a memorable choice.

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Time to bounce to Oklahoma City….

Back Door BBQ
Oklahoma City plays host to one of the largest livestock markets in the world. You can be sat in a restaurant eating your barbecue whilst cattle lorry after cattle lorry passes by in the street outside. It’s a good indication the food miles are going to be practically zero.

This city also sits slap bang in the heart of ‘Tornado Alley’. Measured on a scale of force and destruction from F1 – F5, this city has had the misfortunate of being on the thick end of eight F4s and a devastating F5. And guess what; it’s approaching tornado season, so time to get in, eat up and chip.


Back Door BBQ is run by chef Kathryn Mathis and Pitmaster Kenny. We were super excited to see these guys, given the banter we’d had on social – they seemed to really get the spirit of the Red’s Pilgrimage.

We were welcomed at the door by Kathryn: short in stature, wearing chef’s blacks with quarter length trousers exposing her many tattoos. Each design is a reflection of her dry humour, and we knew straight away we’d get on.

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This joint is a chef’s smokehouse. The menu is simple, but epic in every way. The meats reflected the true Oklahoma blend of Texas and Southeastern style, but with the addition of a unique, local twist; smoked Bologna.

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Sides included fried pickled Okra, deviled eggs and baked corn, and there wasn’t one burger or sandwich that didn’t sound next level. Oh, and did we mention the incredible free table sauces? Classic, Hot, Sweet, Mustard and Espresso completed the experience.


This was true barbecue, with a huge big Okie dollop of love, attention and creativity.


Day #5 Red’s Pilgrimage Kansas City

Time to cross into our third state, Missouri, and head to Kansas City. For anyone that knows their barbecue, you’ll appreciate the melting pot that is this city. In terms of ‘cue, it’s probably most famous for Burnt Ends (thrice smoked nuggets of brisket) and its eponymous sweet molasses, tomato-based sauce.

Given our own sauces and rubs are launching in stores this summer, it was the perfect opportunity to give them the ultimate taste test.

We’d heard about a local craft brewery, Cinder Block Brewing Co. that was doing some good things with barrel ageing, plus the owner’s cousin ran a food truck, Back Rack BBQ, that pitches up outside the front door each day. Does it get any better?

Cinder Block


A little smaller than 4 Hands Brewery, but no less creative in their approach to craft ales, we were given the tour by head brewer, ‘Bucky’. Imagine Double Rainbow Guy and Galifianakis rolled into one, and you’ve got our host.

He was sporting a fresh cut on his head. It turned out that the previous day he’d been working late in the brewery, stood up too quickly, and smacked his head on one of the huge tanks, knocking himself unconscious. Or at least that’s what he told the missus when he got home.


We spent a good few hours trying various different ales, from their Rivet Rye and Northtown Native session ale, to crazy concoctions aged in old Chardonnay barrels.

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His enthusiasm was infectious, and before we left we agreed to hook up later at the brewery bar to really get stuck in. And Jesus did we. The night ended with drunken man hugs, and a firm pact with Bucky for him and his missus to visit us later in the year, and be part of our wolf pack. Dooooooooouuubbbbbllllleee Rainbow maaaaaaaannn!


Back Rack BBQ Truck

In the last few years food trucks have become more and popular in the UK as the street food revolution continues to grow. In the US they’re everywhere.  The Back Rack BBQ Truck, run by Chase & Stephanie, is as legit as they come, towing its own mini smoker behind it. Chase was particularly keen for us to try his brisket, which he smokes using Hickory & White Oak.


Seeing as we’ve just brought back Pulled Meat Nachos for the month of March, we decided to chow down on their version: BBQ Nachos – house chips drizzled in creamy cheese, chopped brisket, pulled pork with pico de gallo (salsa), crispy slaw, jalapeños, sour cream and Kansas City BBQ sauce.



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Paprika and chipotle-flavoured onion rings

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The smoke profile of the brisket was incredible and much more accentuated than we’d experienced so far on the trip, thanks to the choice of wood. Mixed with all the other flavours, this dish was the bomb. But the question is, did Red’s Kansas City BBQ sauce get the motherland stamp of sweet and sticky approval?

They asked to keep the bottle. Nuff said ;)

Day #4 Red’s Pilgrimage St. Louis, M.O


At Red’s we smoke fresh on site each and every day. That means that if we’re busy, we will sell out of certain items. We’ll never reheat or store until the next day. We learnt this style from Pappy’s before Red’s even opened, so this was an important visit for us.

It’s run by quite possibly the coolest fucking guy to live – Mike Emerson.


Sat outside his restaurant in the bright St. Louis sun we heard him coming long before we could see him. Straddling a soft tail Harley Davidson he cruised past us and parked up. Wearing a Dickies’ shirt, loose jeans and sporting a long wispy beard, Mike was every part the Pitmaster.

He began by telling us about a lucky break which firmly put Pappy’s on the map. Back in 2008 he took a call asking whether he wanted the restaurant to be on a new TV show.

At first he thought it was his mates stitching him up, but clocking the area dial code, he quickly realised it was genuine. He was given 5 minutes to convince the researcher why Pappy’s should be chosen. He still can’t recollect what he said, but whatever it was, it worked.


That show was the first ever series of Man vs Food.

Before the now cult show aired he used to receive 5,000 hits to his website a month. The day after the episode broadcast that number rose to 5,000 a minute and crashed his server. The show propelled him into the mainstream and he hasn’t looked back.

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His barbecue is excellent, and follows the Memphis-style. The baby back ribs have the most ridiculous bulge of loin you can ever imagine, and once tried it’s easy to see why he’s one of only a few Pitmasters to be invited back year after year to the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.


Given the Man vs Food link, we’d arranged to hook up with a professional eater, Randy Santel. This guy gets paid to tackle eating challenges, as well as advise restaurants on how to create them. Only in America, baby.

We had already clocked that Pappy’s had the perfect dish – the Adam Bomb, created in honour of Adam Richman’s visit. This beast boasts:

A full slab of ribs, brisket and pork sandwich, 1/4 chicken, a spicy sausage Frito pie and four sides of your choice.


The gladiatorial battle lines of meat had been drawn. Pre challenge the prized food fighters took one last chance to get their game faces on in the car park.

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As the behemoth of barbecue landed on the table Scott’s top lip quivered and sweated, whilst Randy looked like a 7-year-old who had just been given his first Scalextric kit. After 9 minutes of gagging, gipping, writhing and more sweating – mainly from Scott – the tag team owned the 5lbs-worth of barbecue.

We spent the rest of the afternoon outside in the sunshine propping up Mike’s outdoor smoker called Walter (incidentally the same name as our barrel smoker, named after Scott’s Grandpa), and puffing endless cigarettes whilst chewing the brisket fat with Mike.


Crown Candy

Needing to kill a few hours before picking up the RV, we headed out on a recommendation from Mike to visit Crown Candy. This is a Mecca for any sweet toothed-fiend and a firm St. Louisan institution. Crown Candy was opened in 1922 by two Greek immigrants wanting to bring their confectionery skills to the city. Now four generations on, this little shop in a rough part of town enjoys huge queues, for their milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard.


Even on a Monday mid afternoon the queue snaked around the side of the shop – surely this was a sign of good things to come. As we made the door the kitsch 1950’s styling begins to build the anticipation. Then you read the menu – Hot Fudge Split, Choc Marshmallow, Carmel Pecan. By the time you reach the counter you lose all mental control. Words just fall out you mouth and you end up ordering far more than any human can possible defeat.


Expect new things on the Red’s shakes menu soon.

Day #3 Red’s Pilgrimage St Louis, MO

Backyard BBQ

Over the years some of our best discoveries have been made not at well known restaurants or talking to famed Pitmasters, but at off the beaten track joints and serendipitous meetings; ‘Big Wing’ Dave Wingo was one of those.

This guy grew up in one of the toughest neighbourhoods in St Louis, Hillsdale. Now, still living in the same house with his extended family (Miss Lilly his 84-year-old Mum has taken the basement) Wingo cooks in his back yard, and is famous amongst his neighbours for turning out great barbecue.


Having hooked up over email he invited us over for the afternoon.  As we made our way in taxis from Downtown St Louis to his gaff the houses began to grow more and more dilapidated, the corner kids looked more and more gangster, and my hoop started to chatter.  This didn’t look like the type of hood nine out-of-town guys wanted to be lost in, asking for directions.


We pulled up, opened the metal swing gate, and made our way up the steps. You could feel the eyes hitting the back of your head from those slouching on adjacent porches.  Was this the right house? It had to be, the taxis had already cruised off….

Knock, knock….

Relief. There, bounding down his driveway was big Dave Wingo, arms splayed out inviting a big bear hug from team #RedsPilgrimage.


For the next three hours we made our home in his back yard, the eponymous name for his BBQ business.  He’d put on a huge smoked spread for us, including spare ribs, turkey wings, rib tips, ‘corny pigs’ – smoked corn with pineapple ‘ears’, snoots – deep fried pig’s snouts – his Momma’s made corn bread, collard greens and BBQ’d spaghetti.

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Every now again, more and more neighbours and family members would wander in, bringing bottles of local spirits we ‘HAD’ to try.  For a family that were fairly hand to mouth we were made to feel so welcome, and their generosity and effort was humbling.

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Dave’s dream had always been to take his back yard BBQ hobby into bricks and mortar. Last year, with the help of family, friends and a dogged belief, it became a reality. A disused building across the road was transformed into Back Yard BBQ restaurant, serving the best snoots in town. He’d made it.

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We left the party a little bit crunk, and a lot richer in new friendships.

4 Hands Brewery

No Pilgrimage can go without a trip to a local craft brewery. The boys (and girls) at 4 Hands are creative rule breakers when it comes to brewing; wine and spirit barrels containing an array of fruit, herbs, and spices are used, in conjunction with wild yeast strains, to enhance the flavours of the ale. This had to be a must-stop on the road trip.

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True to their brand, our tour was anything but normal. In amongst trying their left field ales including the Chocolate Milk Stout, Divided Sky Rye IPA, and the single hop Reprise Centennial Red, we shot paintballs at targets next to the canning machine, drag-raced pallet lifts round the brewing cylinders, and undertook professional eating training by ingesting slice upon slice of giant watermelons to stretch stomachs for the following days challenge….

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Safe to say two slabs and two boxes of their sups made it onto the RV.

Onwards to Kansas City….

Day #2 Red’s Pilgrimage NYC, Brooklyn

YouTube is one of our greatest sources of research to find ‘cue joints and Pitmasters we want to hook up with whilst on these road trips.

Billy Durney was one of them. His short video clip, which showed him at The Big Apple Block Party – an invitational only BBQ competition – serving up what looked to be the most epic beef short ribs, instantly convinced us we needed a meet.


He’s big. Both in stature and personality. His former life as a private security guard for high profile celebs, got too intense and so he decided to jack it all in and follow his true calling as a Pitmaster.  Like us, he spent more than four years travelling across the US researching, refining and learning his trade, before taking over a disused warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn to carve out a name.


He believes in using huge barrel smokers you find in many of the Texas smokehouses to create the best barbecue. But unlike the Lone Star state, it’s not that easy to park these smokin’ beasts right outside a restaurant in Brooklyn.  So Billy has taken an additional outdoor lock up nearby.

We arrived early doors in the pissing down rain.  Mike, Billy’s hirsute pitmaster, had been tending the pit all night, and was just finishing off the brisket and beef ribs.  As ever on these trips, most good things start with bourbon and beers, and so we cracked a bottle and a 24 box and talked all things barbecue.

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It turns out Billy is super connected and knows most of the Pitmasters and smokehouse owners we’ve met over the last few years. And like his contemporary greats, his approach to the art is beyond obsessive. From wood type, to smoking temperatures, techniques, spritzers, rubs and everything in-between, he’s tested it, practised, and re-tested to keep his game strong. We took a break from chucking a tomahawk into a tree sump to try a beef rib, straight from the smoker. Its 12hr oak-smoked home had turned this rib into an indescribably amazing snack.

Tomahawk target practice

Beef rib fresh from the smoker

The high fat content had allowed the meat to slowly cook, whilst never drying out and so fell easily from the bone. The salt and pepper bark gave an amazing crunch, and mixed perfectly with the buttery fat and lightly smoked meat.  The last time we tasted ‘cue this good was back in Texas last year. Now with a feverish taste, we headed to Hometown BBQ to check the rest of Billy’s menu.

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Jerk baby backs

Vietnamese style chicken wings

Corn bread, whiskey sour pickles and banana pudding

Scott, Billy and James


Whist in Brooklyn, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to catch up with our pal Adam Richman over Brunch. The man is a walking Foodiepedia and for the next few hours, and a gallon of consommé Bloody Mary’s, we swapped stories, jokes and quotes, and walked away with a tonne of new places to check out on the road trip ahead. Thanks dude!

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Still with a taste for more, we bounced to Arrogant Swine in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Pitmaster and owner, Tyson, is on a mission to bring North Carolina whole hog to NYC.  This style of barbecue involves slowly smoking the whole animal for almost an entire day before mixing all the parts together to create a flavour bomb of pork.  Just like Billy, the intensity and passion of Tyson’s art burns through every conversation. It was clear to see why NYC is steadily stamping its mark on the true barbecue scene.

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Barbecue is all about sharing knowledge, so whilst there we took the opportunity to introduce Tyson to the Red’s Donut Burger.  We jumped into the kitchen, and using only a waffle iron – they don’t have any broilers or grills – we cooked and built our holy union of sweet and meat.


Lacking Dirty Sauce we chop housed a blend of Tyson’s Carolina Gold mustard sauce and Sriracha (chilli sauce) and pimped it with a healthy serving of chopped whole hog.  It’s safe to say this bastardised Red’s classic travels well; the entire crew engulfed the kitchen and nailed every tasty morsel within seconds.

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What James Brown did for funk, Brian Shebairo is doing for hot dogs – ‘watch yourself!’

In a Tardis-like joint, the smell of deep fried, bacon-wrapped hot dogs practically clogged the air… in a really, really good way!

Crif Dogs

These guys have taken the saying “everything tastes better with bacon” to a whole new level.  Each dog is lovingly wrapped, stabbed (with a cocktail stick) deep fried and laid in a freshly baked soft finger roll before being dressed with a medley of toppings unlike anything we’ve ever seen… staples such as sour cheese dog, spicy redneck and tempted dog are part and parcel of what Crif Dogs has come to represent, a well known product in a way you never expected and more surprisingly a way you didn’t realise you’d absolutely love.


Every item on the menu is created, made and served from a kitchen no bigger than the average spare bedroom, with pretty much no ceiling height, and no space to swing a cat (or hot dog for that matter) but the kitchen team deal out some of the best examples of New York’s most famous street food.


Brian’s laid-back approach could be mistaken for disinterest, that is until you realise he’s simply one of the most chilled out guys you’ll ever meet. Even the name “Crif” Dogs comes from an infectious yet admirably lackadaisical approach to branding.. “Back in the day, I’d have a mouth full of hot dogs and I’d shout my buddy Chris and it just came out sounding like Crif… so we called it Crif Dogs.”


He started the business on a wing and a prayer after eating shoddy dogs at the end of his many nights out; 15 years later this guy has established himself as one of NY’s coolest independent food joints… and rightly so.

If you find yourself in NYC, put this on your bucket list. And if you’re lucky you might just discover the speakeasy bar hidden inside a telephone box.


Day #1 Red’s Pilgrimage 2015: NYC, Brooklyn

For a team obsessed with barbecue undertaking its annual research Pilgrimage to the States, you might ask what the brisket are we doing visiting New York?

This state is more known for its Italian-influences: pizza, pasta, delis, giant sandwiches and sidewalk hot dogs. But not American low and slow barbecue.

However this resurgent trend which is firmly back in the zeitgeist, both here in the States, and now gripping the UK, has put down roots east coast side. And the Pitmasters here aren’t just ‘giving it a go’. They’re 100% serious they can turn out the best ‘cue this country has to offer.  They don’t just want to equal the famed Pitmasters of Texas, Tennessee or the Carolinas, these new NYC Pitmasters want to better them; respectively ;)

Unconstrained by the shackles of regional ‘BBQ rules’, there is no one style found here in New York. Similar to Red’s, many of these new smokehouses celebrate the varying different regional barbecue styles, all under one roof. Texas beef brisket, North Carolina Pulled Pork and chopped Whole Hog, Memphis spare and baby back ribs. It’s a true melting pot.

But can they really take on the Franklins, Muellers, Cookstons and Fourtons of this world? Let’s eat and find out….


The S’Wich game is strong here in NYC, so we took the opportunity to head out into Red Hook, Brooklyn, to find us some lunch.

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Defontes is an Italian-American deli, which has happily fed the local neighbourhood since 1922. This place is straight out of The Sopranos. So much so, when you walk in there’s a wall dedicated to its patrons, and dominating half the stretch are various different cast members from every Italian mobster film you’ve ever watched.

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Americans don’t mess about with size of fillings. Add in to the mix the flavoursome Italian influence, and you’ve the greatest sandwiches known to a made man. We ordered a boxful and sent our hunger swimming with the fishes.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent in Wiliamsburgh, a hip Brooklyn district sitting just west of Manhattan over the Hudson river, and home to one of Red’s customer’s favourites suds – Brooklyn.

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This brand has cut its path to mainstream now, but whilst it has numerous out of town breweries to cope with global demand, the original brewery site remains dedicated to kicking out small batch craft ales which helped make its name. A re-occuring annual favourite: The Unsung Hero (4.75%), a saison with ginger, lemon and lime zest, received some serious attention from the team, as did the East IPA (6.9%).

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Brooklyn sits across the water from down town NYC, so not wanting to miss the epic Manhattan skyline, we squeezed in a few Six Point Brewery Co Bengali Tigers, 10 stories up in the Ides Bar of Wyhte Hotel.  You have to be completely devoid of any humanity to not look fall deeply in love, and look in such awe, at this most grandiose of cities.

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Day #-1 of Red’s Pilgrimage was wrapped up back in downtown NYC at the world famous Katz’s Deli.  This place has fed everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Foo Fighters and many Presidents in between.  It’s one of New York’s oldest delis, and was put on the global map in the 80s when Meg Ryan faked an orgasm at the table in the film When Harry Met Sally.


The Red’s Good Book used to play host to a Reuben Sandwich, so with this trip being all about finding new dishes, and homing existing ones, we placed our order.


If you’ve never had a Reuben, you need this in your life:

Sliced pastrami (cured beef brisket), sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian Dressing (ketchup, Ranch dressing, onions, parsley, garlic and Worcestershire sauce), all between white sour dough bread. At first the $20 price tag seems heavy.

Then you clamp your cake hole round it, and realise the irony of the orgasm scene; subtly spiced, aromatic beef, acidic sauerkraut, umami rich cheese and the creamy, tangy dressing make this sandwich not only worthy of resurrection to the Good Book, but an excuse to sport a proud semi-on in a restaurant….


Let’s call this a day, dive under the duvet at The Comfort Inn and ready ourselves for the onslaught of four full on food stops in one 24 hr period….

#RedsPilgrimage is back

The Donut Burger. The Pitmaster S’Wich. The Sleepy James. USDA Black Angus brisket. All of these Red’s favourites, and more, have been inspired by our annual road trip Pilgrimage across the States.

This Friday 13th March we’re hittin’ the road again.


For 10 days straight, our Pit Pilgrims will road trip 4,000 miles through Brooklyn, St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Austin –  all in the name of true, authentic barbecue (heavy is the cross we bear for you the faithful…).

We’ll eat as much ‘cue as any human can physically handle. We’ll sup local craft beer, slam bourbon and interview ANYONE who has a passion for barbecue – from legendary pitmasters to happy moonshiners (who can forget Sleepy James, after all?!)

The annual trip influences our Good Book each and every winter. This year we’re giving you an early preview of what’s to come by running a month of Pilgrimage-inspired specials from the end of April. You can earn access to this secret menu and try our latest creations by signing up on our Pilgrimage page.

Follow us along our barbecue-laden journey with the hash tag #redspilgrimage and on our dedicated Pilgrimage 2015 page. Hungry for more? Catch last year’s epic journey by listening to the podcasts here.


The second coming….Pulled Meat Nachos is back.

The people have spoken. Pulled Meat Nachos have returned for the month of March. Alleluia!

This is an off-menu item, meaning you need to grab a ticket to order it….

Pulled Meat Nachos

In case you forgot (let’s be honest, how could you?), these are homestyle nachos covered in pulled pork, USDA brisket and pulled chicken topped with jalapeños and our housemade chili con queso, guacamole, sour cream and Unholy BBQ sauce.

Available at 12.95 in Leeds, Headingley and Manchester, we have 500 tickets/restaurant.  Re-live the legend, and grab yours now.





February #FridayFoodFight

Friday Food Fight is returning this weekend and we’ll be representing once again, bringing BBQ to the hungry masses in Manchester.

Last month’s menu seemed to tickle your bellies, with BBQ bites from our new menu making the line-up. So we’re coming back at you with some of those block rock meats.

Main - Pulled Pork and Slaw

Red’s pulled pork, slaw & apple sauce
Cheese & jalapeño sausage
USDA beef brisket & burnt ends

MEAT BOXES – 2 meats £6, 3 meats £8, 4 meats £10
Red’s pulled pork & apple sauce
KC-Wet baby back ribs (1/2 rack)
1/4 smoked sticky chicken
Cheese & jalapeño sausage
USDA beef brisket & burnt ends

All served with slaw.

SIDES – £2
Our famous Pit beans
Bean chili (v)

Hit up more #FridayFoodFight fun and news here. See you tomorrow, believers.